Pieces remain in possession of Lebanese authorities
Sanaa – Maeen al-Najri
Over 1,500 artefacts, some of which prehistoric, have been seized while in the process of being smuggled out of Yemen through Sanaa International Airport, Muhammad al-Sayani, the director of the Yemeni General
Authority for Antiquities and Museums said.
Al-Sayani said the pieces that have been seized over the past six years are still stored at the airport after being examined and packaged by a special committee ahead of being moved to the National Museum in Sanaa.
Al-Sayani denied that international rings are behind the smuggling of Yemeni artefacts for sale in the black market and held Yemenis responsible for the loss of many pieces. He said people who illegally traffic antiquities "are obsessed with amassing money at the expense of their country's history" and demanded their prosecution.
Of the Yemeni artefacts and manuscripts seized early in 2012 at Beirut International Airport, al-Sayani said the case is still with the Yemeni antiquities and museums prosecution authorities. The pieces and manuscripts themselves remain in the possession of Lebanese authorities and the main accused of smuggling the artefacts (and a qat plant, illegal in Lebanon) is also in Lebanese custody.